Sarah Semple Brown / Photo © Katy Tartakoff
The Cruise Room at the Oxford Hotel / Courtesy Oxford Hotel
The Kitchen Denver / Courtesy The Kitchen
Sarah Semple Brown, co-founder and design principal of Semple Brown Design, has worked in Denver for more than 30 years. One of her earliest projects, Denver's Larimer Square, was the recipient of the AIA Denver 25-Year Award in 2003, and her work has received more than 44 Design Awards from the AIA. In addition to the Larimer Square restoration, examples of her work include the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre restoration, the Denver Pavilion redesign, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts interior renovation, the Lowenstein Theatre Complex, and the Redline Art Gallery. She has also designed numerous Denver restaurants, including Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, The Kitchen, The Squeaky Bean, Steubens, and Coohills. Semple Brown will be elevated to Fellowship at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver.
Best New District
Taxi is a gritty urban mixed use development located in the RiNo (River North) Arts District along the Platte River northeast of Downtown—definitely off the beaten path. Taxi grew from the conversion of the industrial site and home of the yellow cab dispatch hub into a thriving community. The new industrial-inspired buildings were designed by Will Bruder and Stephen Dynia. The original Taxi building houses Fuel Café, a hip neighborhood restaurant serving fresh, inspired American cuisine that consistently receives rave reviews.
Best Dining in Historic LoDo (Lower Downtown)
Larimer Square is a collection of 15 historic buildings that house some of the best shopping and restaurants offered in Denver. Chef Jennifer Jasinski, named the 2013 James Beard best chef in the Southwest, operates three outstanding restaurants Rioja, Bistro Vendome, and Euclid Hall are all uniquely creative offerings.
The Kitchen is the best new restaurant in LoDo. It is located in the Historic Sugar Building at 16th and Wazee Streets. The space reveals historic layers highlighted by large windows that look out to the 16th Street Mall and the historic buildings of LoDo.
The best bar in LoDo is the Cruise Room located in the Historic Oxford Hotel. The Cruise Room’s legendary Martini Bar décor is authentic Art Deco fashioned after one of the lounges of the Queen Mary—a must-see for historic architecture and a cool vibe. The Squeaky Bean is one of the newest restaurants in LoDo, housed in the Historic Saddlery Building at 15th and Wazee Streets. The Squeaky Bean offers a menu of seasonal culinary items in a stunning dining room that captures the essence of Lower Downtown Denver.
Best Places to Discover in Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill offers a rich variety of historic architecture with the Grant-Humphreys Mansion, the Governor’s Mansion, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, and many turn-of-the-century Victorian houses.
Just a few blocks from St John’s is the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, which houses an eclectic collection of decorative arts as well as many paintings by Denver artist Vance Kirkland.
Don’s Mixed Drinks is a classic Capitol Hill neighborhood bar that’s been a fixture along 6th Avenue for decades. Overhead garage doors give this bar/pool hall an open-air freshness.
Table Six is a fabulous American bistro located only a few blocks from Don’s Mixed Drinks.
Off the Beaten Trail Dining in Highlands
The Highlands Neighborhood overlooks downtown with pockets of commercial activities anchored by amazingly creative local chef-driven restaurants.
Duo is a small hidden jewel with tall ceilings and windows that light up the space. The food is fabulous and dessert is to die for.
Z Cuisine is a tiny Parisian bistro with a very authentic ambiance and only 15 seats. The wait is worth it, particularly while sitting in their absinthe bar next door.
Root Down is surrounded by the Highlands Neighborhood on one side and a raised highway nearby. The restaurant offers farm fresh small plates that are meant to share in a creatively renovated gas station.